UPDATE: Timeline of what happened in the 1998 cold case; how WMPD made break in case

Crime

UPDATE: 6:00 PM– A West Monroe cold case is a step closer to being solved, all thanks to some new forensic technology. NBC 10/FOX 14 have a timeline of what happened to Judith Holdiness 22 years ago and how West Monroe police made a break in the case.

60-year-old Levi Thomisee is currently serving time at OCC for an unrelated charge, but with eye witness statements, Thomisee’s testimony placing himself at the crime scene, and new forensic evidence, charges are being sought on Thomisee for this 22-year-old West Monroe cold case. It all started on July 6, 1998.

Right before midnight, 55-year-old Judith Holdiness was making a call from a payphone at the Racetrack in West Monroe, which is now named Raceway. According to the police report, Holdiness was leaving a message on her home answering machine for her daughter. During the message, a male voice spoke to her in the background saying “How are you doing” and then Holdiness screamed “He’s got a knife. Oh my god.” Nothing else is heard from the recordings.

According to the report, once West Monroe Police arrived on the scene, three eyewitnesses say they heard a female scream and saw a tall slender male, wearing a baseball cap, light-colored shirt, dark pants, and dark shoes, running from the area west towards Flair Jewelers, which is currently Trinity Diamonds.

Levi Thomisee was located at the Flair Jewelers parking lot. He was wearing clothes matching the description given by the three witnesses. He was interviewed as a witness that night saying he saw the victim park her car and walk to the payphone.

PHOTO COURTESY: MARJORIE LARD

Thomisee says he heard her scream and the male suspect ran past him, pushing him down. However, he didn’t show any signs of being pushed. At that time, Thomisee was not wearing a hat or shoes. In the report, it says he told police he recently bought cigarettes from the store and was drinking a beer in Flair Jewelers parking lot.

The night of the accident, the store clerk said a black male entered the store wearing the clothing description given by the witnesses and buying cigarettes. The clerk was shown six pictures, Thomisee’s photo included, and she indicated Thomisee was indeed the male inside purchasing the cigarettes right before the incident.

A search of the crime scene was conducted the night of the incident and during the search, black shoes and a black cap were found in the canal between Racetrack and Blanchard St. The report says Thomisee admitted the shoes were his and he threw them there because they were too small, but denied the hat being his. DNA evidence later proved the hat belonged to him and Thomisee’s pants were seized from him after the interview.

Other leads were chased and cleared, making the case cold. Detective Justin Cummings was assigned the case on May 1, 2019, bringing us back to Wednesday’s breakthrough.

After viewing the evidence, Detective Cummings learning that Thomisee’s pants and shoes had not been sent for analysis since 2002. Due to new technology, it showed both items had signs of latent blood. A DNA test will be done at a later date.


UPDATE: 9:30 PM — New information given to us by friends of Holdiness, they say she was a nurse at St. Francis Medical Center. According to reports, she had ended her second shift and was leaving a message on a payphone when Thomisee stabbed her to death just before midnight in July of 1998. Some of her friends say they still never forget her.

PHOTO COURTESY: MARJORIE LARD

Vicky curry says, “I worked with her at North Monroe hospital starting back in December 1990. very kind and caring lady, worked two jobs to try and make it to the next paycheck.”

Lisa Bennett says “she was a hard worker. She worked 2 jobs, had several children, and was in poor health. this man was 38 years old when he ruthlessly and brutally murdered Judy.”


WEST MONROE, La. — The West Monroe Police Department has made an arrest in a murder investigation from over 20 years ago.

According to WMPD, 60-year-old Levi Thomisee has been arrested in the stabbing death of Judith Holdiness in July of 1998.

Police say advancements in DNA and blood analysis allowed their agency to make an arrest in the case after receiving “confirming information” from the crime lab.

Thomisee was arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder on Wednesday, November 18. He was booked into the Ouachita Correctional Center and his bond has been set at $10 million.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

Don't Miss

Trending Stories